Will the neighbours ruin King Kenny's return?
Liverpool v Everton | Sunday 14:05 | Sky Sports 1
A team of overpaid soap writers could have sat in a room for a full week and still not have penned a more fascinating saga as the one that has unfolded at Anfield in the last fortnight.
The plot for this drama (or comedy depending on which side of Stanley Park your loyalties lay) thickened with the return of King Kenny at the helm of the football club. Dalglish's return has of yet not had the desired effect of galvanising the club and the team after losses in the FA Cup against Manchester United and in the Premier League against Blackpool.
It seems almost scripted that Kenny Dalglish's first home match in his second spell as Liverpool manager should come against the team he faced in his final game of his first tenure at Anfield. The Liverpool legend dramatically quit in 1991 after a dramatic 4-4 draw at Goodison in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Everton fans have taken great pleasure in Liverpool's demise this season and will be hoping and praying that their team can complete a first double over the Reds in 25 years and a first win at Anfield in over a decade.
David Moyes' team have not fared much better than Liverpool this season and sit just a place above them on goal difference. The Toffees' away record has once again been a key contributor to Everton's bottom half league position. Two wins in their last 12 league away games tells you everything you need to know about their form away from Goodison. On their last foray away from Merseyside in the league they were undone 2-0 by Stoke.
On the injury front Kenny Dalglish is still without Scouse stars Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher through suspension and injury respectively. Understandably, Gerrard and Carragher would have been the first two names on the team sheet going into a Merseyside derby and it will be interesting to see if the Liverpool team contains that same passion and fight without the two local lads.
Apart from the aforementioned missing pair Dalglish has a full selection of players to choose from.
David Moyes goes into this match without the massively influential Tim Cahill who is still participating in the Asian Cup for his country. It was Cahill who scored the opener in the Everton win at Goodison in October against the Reds and his aerial ability, in both boxes, will be sorely missed.
Phil Jagielka is a doubt for this huge clash and will be given until the very last minute to prove his fitness.
The match betting for this derby game is closer than in previous years. Liverpool's home form has been on the whole pretty good, only Manchester United and Chelsea have won more games than them on home soil. Due to this, the Reds have been installed as 13/10 favourites compared to the 13/5 on offer for the visiting Evertonians.
Whenever Liverpool play at Anfield, the first scorer market is always focused around Fernando Torres (7/2 first scorer, 10/11 anytime) and with his Premier League record in front of his home fans (45 goals in 50 appearances) it's easy to see why.
Liverpool's attack looks toothless when the Spaniard isn't playing and the likes of Dirk Kuyt and David Ngog ( both 11/2 first scorer, 6/4 anytime) need to raise their games and fire in the goals to lift the lacklustre Reds.
Without the absent Tim Cahill, Everton will be heavily reliant on Louis Saha (7/1 first scorer, 2/1 anytime) to score the goals for the team. The French striker scored against Tottenham in Everton's last league game and will be hugely important here.
My recommendations for this game are first of all, for the game to finish as a draw (15/8). With both teams missing many of their creative and attacking stars, goals could be hard to come by.
The other are in the card markets. This match has produced more red cards than any other in the history of the Premier League - 19 in total. If you feel that there will be another at Anfield you can back YES at 7/4 and over 6 cards in the Total Cards Market is also priced at 7/4.